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Bill Adkins

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For the political candidate see United States House of Representatives elections in Kentucky, 2012#District 4

William 'Bill' Adkins, CM (died March 28, 1982) was a Canadian noted for his 50 plus years service to amateur theatre.[1]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Adkins was born in Winslow, Buckinghamshire,[2][3] circa 1889.[3] He left England for Canada circa 1911[2], farming near Edmonton[2][3] and working for the Hudson's Bay Company.[2] During World War I, he served with the Canadian Field Artillery in Europe.[2][3] After the war, he returned to Canada, settled in Ottawa, and married Gertrude Helen Green, with whom he had two children.[3] He joined the Department of Indian Affairs, where he met Duncan Campbell Scott through whom he became involved in the theatre.[2][3]

Theatre work[edit | edit source]

Adkins worked backstage on every production of the Ottawa Drama League (later the Ottawa Little Theatre) after 1920.[4][5] Over many years, he worked as electrician, carpenter, scene shifter,[4] scene painter,[2] lighting operator, set designer,[6][7][8] set builder,[9] and, from 1927, stage manager.[2][3][4][10] During World War II, Adkins arranged and stage managed shows for troops.[2][11] Adkins continued as stage manager of the Ottawa Little Theatre after the war, travelling with it to the Dominion Drama Festival and other regional performances.[12][13] He also supervised visiting stage managers when Ottawa hosted drama festivals,[11] and managed the stage and lighting for the outdoor theatre at a summer drama school for children.[14] Adkins was still stage manager at the time that the Ottawa Little Theatre burnt down in 1970,[15] and when it reopened after rebuilding in 1972, with improved stage facilities.[16] He retired from the theatre in 1979,[3] and died in Ottawa on 28 March 1982.[3]

Awards[edit | edit source]

Adkins received a 1960 Canadian Drama Award, in recognition of outstanding contributions to Canadian theatre.[17][18][19][20] In 1973, the first year it was awarded, he was invested with the Member of the Order of Canada,[21][22] "for his 50 years' service to the amateur theatre movement in Ottawa and to the Dominion Drama Festival".[1] In 2013, during their 100th season celebrations, the Ottawa Little Theatre named him as a Cornerstone Inductee, an honor instituted for volunteers who made an extraordinary contribution to the development of the theatre.[23]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Honours - Recipients - Mr. William Adkins, C.M." The Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Ketchum, W.Q. (24 August 1963). "Faces of Ottawa: William Adkins". The Ottawa Journal. p. 16. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Ashley, Audrey M. (29 March 1982). "Former OLT manager dies". The Ottawa Citizen. p. 46. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Alford, Walter (30 November 1935). "Back Stage Staff Work Hard For Drama's Success". The Ottawa Journal. p. 25. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  5. "Bill Adkins at L. Theater for 39 Years". The Ottawa Citizen. 15 October 1960. p. 20. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  6. Frankham, Roger (3 January 1942). "Look For Man Behind Scenes When Play Is Great Success". The Ottawa Citizen. p. 26. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  7. Thistle, Lauretta (26 April 1960). "Does Agatha Christie Despise Her Audience?". The Ottawa Citizen. p. 13. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  8. Daley, Frank (7 January 1967). "Ottawa Little Theatre". The Ottawa Journal. p. 34. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  9. Devlin, Edward "Ted" (1998). "3. "The Stanley Cup was a Centrepiece on our Dining-Room Table"". In Finnigan, Joan. Tallying the Tales of the Old-timers. GeneralStore PublishingHouse. p. 33. ISBN 9781896182957. Retrieved 13 February 2019. Above all there was Bill Adkins, the English-born stage manager and set-builder, who put it all together and made it happen on stage.
  10. Meiklejohn, J.M.C.; Johnston, edited by Denis W (Fall 1989). "THEATRE IN OTTAWA IN THE 1930s: A MEMOIR". TRIC/RTAC. 10 (2). Retrieved 13 February 2019.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Teen Corn Festival May Not Be So Corny". The Ottawa Citizen. 12 May 1949. p. 11. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  12. Coates, Richard (21 March 1951). "Set Delivery Delay Sweats ODL Director". The Ottawa Journal. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  13. "Pinocchio Packs His Bag And Marks It 'DDF, Rush'". The Ottawa Citizen. 12 May 1951. p. 24 (S3). Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  14. Cooper, Philip (12 July 1958). "Manotick Farm Is Now School For Thespians". The Ottawa Citizen. p. 21. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  15. McIndoe, Jane (4 July 1970). "The History of the Ottawa Little Theatre - A Tradition to Rebuild On". The Ottawa Journal. p. 6. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  16. "Curtain goes up on Ottawa Little Theatre". The Ottawa Citizen. 29 January 1972. p. 25. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  17. "Bill Adkins Honored". The Ottawa Journal. 3 December 1960. p. 52. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  18. "Here and There: Award For Stage Manager". The Ottawa Citizen. 3 December 1960. p. 26. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  19. "Conversation Piece". The Gazette. Montreal, Quebec. 7 December 1960. p. 25. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  20. "Little Theatre Play Tops Drama Festival". The Ottawa Journal. 20 March 1961. p. 9. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  21. Grantham, Ronald (9 April 1973). "Canadian honors system enters fourth stage". The Ottawa Citizen. p. 16. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  22. "Appointments made to Order of Canada". The Leader-Post. Regina, Saskatchewan. 23 December 1972. p. 35. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  23. "Cornerstone Inductees". Ottawa Little Theatre. Retrieved 12 February 2019.


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